Considering his relatively low recorded output, clarinetist Joe Maneri had an amazing impact on the sound of contemporary music. A handful of solo recordings and duets with his son Mat complemented the work that he did with other avant-garde musicians like Joe Morris. His music career, which reached well into his seventies, drew inspiration from a variety of sources, including jazz, chamber music, and spiritual themes that were most likely fleshed out during Maneri's previous street preaching in Brooklyn. His playing, which often crackled with energy, broke the false boundaries that existed between musical genres -- he pulled sounds out of his reeds that seemed impossible. One of his greatest musical accomplishments, however, may have been his mentoring of his son, whose equally virtuosic performances on the violin and viola seemed to pick up creatively where the father left off.
In addition to Mat Maneri's ability to fit seamlessly into his father's world of microtonal sound exploration, Mat also helped to document Joe's performances and bring them to public attention, notably through a series of 1993 recordings by the Joe Maneri Quartet. These recordings began to see the light of day starting with the 1995 Leo release Get Ready to Receive Yourself, which introduced many avant jazz and creative improvisation listeners to the quartet lineup featuring Joe and Mat joined by bassist John Lockwood and drummer Randy Peterson. Later in the '90s, the Swiss Hat Hut and affiliated Hatology labels dipped further into 1993 Joe Maneri Quartet recordings for 1996's limited-edition Dahabenzapple (featuring Cecil McBee on bass rather than Lockwood), 1997's Coming Down the Mountain, and 1999's Tenderly (the latter two featuring bassist Ed Schuller). Issued in 1997 by ECM, the Maneri Quartet's In Full Cry captured the group (with Lockwood returning on bass this time) recording in a German studio during June of the preceding year. ~ Stacia Proefrock & Dave Lynch